The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [47]

Here, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46.

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2. 5. 2.  The Unpassion and the Divine Light

The sight of the light does not mean at Symeon than the beginning of conscious spiritual life. The first ecstasy does not mean the human deification but the real beginning of the dispassion, of the purification of passions.

Therefore he is not absolutising the sporadic sight, that takes you by surprise, namely the sight of the beginners, but he speaks about the advance in purity and in the permanentness of light in us as the real state, plenary of the deification.

The Ethical Discours 4, that holds perfectly on the entitling of this section, has right scope the speech about unpassion/ apathy [avpa,qeian], about how shows in fact the unpassion in the one who sanctifies life.

Saint Symeon begins his speech from a maximal quota, for that he asks from the one who speaks about unpassion to have the soul loose of „pa,shj evpiqumi,aj ponhra/j kai. evmpaqou/j logismou/” [all evil desire and of the passionate thought][1].

In addition to experience the state of unpassion Symeon requests and an excessive clarity of mind for to speak on this subject, for that the speaker about unpassion should not have a  „troublous mind” and not an „unclean heart” when debates it[2].

Those that are unpassioned, says Symeon, and talk about unpassion ignite and more by the longing for it[3], while those who are bound, even and in very little, through any passion, of this world, are far by „its haven”[4].

The haven of the unpassion excludes the interior darkening and the inner fight with the holiness[5].

Doind the first step in discussing of the state of unpassion of the spiritual man, Symeon speaks of its acquisition through noera/j aivsqh,sewj [the feeling of mind], through qewri,aj [contemplation/ sight] and through pantourgou/ evnergei,aj auvth/j pei/ran o[lwj [the work of-all-working of that total experience/ full], of the presence of light in our being[6].

He puts the whole process of cleaning the passions thus, on account of divine illuminations, of ecstatic sights and of light’s works in our being.

Symeon focuses on the spiritual aspect of the process of dispassion and of the reaching in state of unpassion of whole being, without as by this to put in shadow the whole ascesis in that is integrated and the body, in that we are fully integrated in our relation with God.

When Symeon speaks about unpassion does not dissociate the soul from the body (after how he does not in frame of the ecstasy), but he focuses on the aspect which he wants to discuss it, keeping into a normal balance both dimensions of the human person.

If for one who has unpassion this is a pei/ran o[lwj, a total experience, holistic of our being, a feeling of living work, current of divine light in our being, at opposite pole, the one who doesn’t have and spoken about it he treats it fraudulent, venturing in „many thoughts and in diverse analogies[7], without that he has the interior certainties of its[8].

Symeon, no doubt, had in view on experimenters and theologians who self-titled knowledgeable of the process of personal sanctification but could not say something concrete about the details of this divine-human process.

Symeon does not take revenge in their face if he talks about this subject, but he narrates the state of unpassion which he lived and which he could explain very coherent and credible.

In face of analogies and of theological phraseology Symeon came with admirable concreteness of his mystical experience.

Nobody whole at mind could react negatively in face of his experience, as long as he gives clear testimonies, concrete, at each theological problem that received general responses, non-experiential, from academic theology of his time.

Symeon is credible in his theological discourse for that he endorsed in meticulous mode the theology of the Church and he could explain it coherently thanks to his spiritual experience[9].

[1] SC 129, The Ethical Discourses, IV, 4-5, p. 8 / Ică jr. 1, p. 219.

[2] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, IV, 10, p. 8 / Ibidem.

[3] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, IV, 18-21, p. 8-10 / Idem, p. 219-220.

[4] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, IV, 21-24, p. 10 /Idem, p. 220.

[5] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, IV, 30-33, p. 10 / Ibidem.

[6] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, IV, 34-35, p. 10 / Ibidem.

[7] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, IV, 36-37, p. 10 / Ibidem.

[8] Idem, The Ethical Discourses, IV, 39, p. 10 / Ibidem.

[9] In the early pages of his doctoral thesis, dedicated to the theology of Saint Simeon, MR Hilarion Alfeyev said the following: „My belief is that at Symeon we find a mysticism that is absolutely traditional, in the orthodox acceptation of the term and this thing I will try to prove throughout this work”, acc. Hilarion Alfeyev, St. Symeon the New Theologian and Orthodox Tradition, Ed. by Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2000, p. 4.

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